November 25, 2007
Mountaineering with UP Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Lakay)
As a member of the UP Mountaineers (UPM), I've always been open to climb with other mountaineering orgs and see how things are done from their end and soak a little bit of their culture. When I got an invite to join Lakay's outdoor event, I didn't give it a second thought. Upstanding members of UPM are likewise Lakay members - Kram and Alyx. That a lot of goodwill right there.
UP Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers
Lakay is one of several UP-based mountaineering orgs that puts special emphasis on guidemanship. It was founded in 1997 with no less than 120 members (active and non-active). Lakay is not entirely about mountains and climbing and has elected to call itself alternative mountaineering group. Its name "Lakay Kalikasan" implies a different perspective on mountains and mountaineering, and the environment as a whole. It opposes a mountaineering trend in the country that
Lakay sees as a growing "sport mountaineering" where mountains becomes exploited playgrounds. Although, some members choose to go sport mountaineering too. They claim not to be tree-hugging people or nature people type, but some members go to the extreme in advocating environmental issues and live what they believe.
The event is what Lakay calls batawa - a guideship climb, an alternative introduction for a newbie into the fascinating world of mountaineering. It's designed to provide a little challenge without trauma, a headspace orientation to environmentalism and conservation, and a glimpse into the Lakay culture.
From the 7am meeting time at Shaw/Edsa, we took the jeep for the 1.5 hour trip to Tanay market. It was all paved through a scenery that gradually morphed from city to countryside. We had a little stop-time at the market for washroom needs, pack lunch purchase, etc., before boarding a jeepcycle - a cross between a tricycle and a jeep (I just coined that).
Our first stop was the Kalinawan Cave. Word is, there are 3 factions claiming property to the land. It was suggested that they all hole themselves up inside the cave until they come to an understanding...thus the name - kalinawan (clarity). The hill where it is located is called Rawang which have been strongholds of Filipino resistance fighters against the Spanish, American and Japanese invaders. After a group warm-up, we descended into the cave. The passage through was friendly...relatively flat, and you're upright the entire time (no crawling through narrow spooky crevices). There were a few interesting junctions, but we were told they lead nowhere. Before we knew it, we were already outside the other end of the cave. The group leader gathered us and asked us about our observation. A brief environmental talk ensued.
It was a short 30-minute but interesting hike, including a river crossing, from the cave exit to our next stop - Daranak Falls. It's a 14 meter high waterfall nestled quietly at the foot of the Tanay mountains with it's lush vegetation, beautiful falls and ponds. We only stayed there to eat our lunch while watching other visitors frolic in the shallow opal-like pool. Shortly after, we packed up again and headed to a higher waterfall, Batlag Falls, just minutes from Daranak (but less known and less crowded).
It was a wise call to head over Batlad Falls to do our R&R. The place was gorgeous. The swimming area with cool and flowing water has a deep end (maybe 6 feet) and enshrined in a forest setting, with mature trees, roots semi-exposed like mangroves. We were kids at play.
After packing our gear, we gathered at a sheltered picnic table and had our post climb. We all took turns having our say about the whole event. I was all praises. Hey, I had a great time.
A day trip that includes a cave exploration and 2 waterfalls? That's hard to beat. The Lakay leadership and guidemanship wasn't in-your-face, but it's all there, neatly tucked within the undercurrent of what's happening. You just know things are going great and you're having a great time. In my parlance, they were emptying the ashtray and preparing soup in the kitchen, while we were all partying. What can I say? Lakay rocks! My BIG THANK YOU to Lakay for the privilege.
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- The Fabulous People of Roxas City (Igang Cave) Nov 25-27, 2012
- Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
- Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae (Sawa Cave) May 29 - June 1, 2009
- Backpacking Cagayan de Oro (Macahambus Cave) Mar 7-9, 2009
- Sagada Cave Connection - Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave September 12, 2008
- Mountaineering with Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Kalinawan Cave) November 25, 2007
- Sabang, Palawan (Underground River) November 14-21, 2007
- Sagada (Sumaging Cave) October 18, 2005
- The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada (Sumaging Cave) May 3, 2005
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